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LA Noir: Architect Takashi Yanai’s Humble-Chic Bungalow

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LA Noir: Architect Takashi Yanai’s Humble-Chic Bungalow

September 2, 2019

The husband-wife founders of Poketo, Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, have long been champions of the unique and well-designed. Their online store (along with four brick and mortar locations in LA) is stocked with their colorful and modern wares, as well as those by makers they admire. Now, with their new book Creative Spaces, they’re giving readers a peek into the homes and studios of 23 of their favorite creatives.

We have a soft spot for the bohemian homes of artists, ceramicists, and other creatives, so we’re especially excited to share images from their book—starting with the Japanese-inspired LA bungalow of architect Takashi Yanai. It’s small (just 1,500-square-feet) and minimalist; blurs the line between the indoors and out; and it elevates humble, natural materials. In short, it’s Zen perfection.

Let’s take a tour. (And be sure to come back next week for another house tour from the book.)

Photography by Ye Rin Mok, from Creative Spaces.

A tousled lawn and black exterior immediately let visitors know this isn’t an average suburban home.
Above: A tousled lawn and black exterior immediately let visitors know this isn’t an average suburban home.
The dark painted exterior is a nod to the age-old Japanese practice of shou sugi ban, which involves essentially torching timber to preserve it. (For more about the tradition, go here. For a modern-day example of shou sugi ban, see The Soot House: Conjuring the Ghosts of Old New England on Spruce Head in Maine.)
Above: The dark painted exterior is a nod to the age-old Japanese practice of shou sugi ban, which involves essentially torching timber to preserve it. (For more about the tradition, go here. For a modern-day example of shou sugi ban, see The Soot House: Conjuring the Ghosts of Old New England on Spruce Head in Maine.)
The house was built in the 1950s; Yanai references the period with mid-century classics like Eames dining chairs and an Eames storage unit.
Above: The house was built in the 1950s; Yanai references the period with mid-century classics like Eames dining chairs and an Eames storage unit.
The kitchen is open to the dining and living areas. Note the elegance of the wood windowsill that extends into a ledge atop the counter.
Above: The kitchen is open to the dining and living areas. Note the elegance of the wood windowsill that extends into a ledge atop the counter.
A plywood bookcase filled with art books.
Above: A plywood bookcase filled with art books.
Yanai with his family. The entire back wall opens to the backyard. A minimalist platform deck eases the transition between indoors and out.
Above: Yanai with his family. The entire back wall opens to the backyard. A minimalist platform deck eases the transition between indoors and out.
Yanai worked with frequent collaborator David Godshall, of LA landscape architecture firm Terremoto, on the landscape design. (For more examples of minimalist decks, see Design Trend: 15 Wooden Decks That Disappear Into the Landscape.)
Above: Yanai worked with frequent collaborator David Godshall, of LA landscape architecture firm Terremoto, on the landscape design. (For more examples of minimalist decks, see Design Trend: 15 Wooden Decks That Disappear Into the Landscape.)
The architect worked in Japan before attending Harvard Graduate School of Design, and evidence of his Japanese-influenced aesthetic can be seen throughout his home.
Above: The architect worked in Japan before attending Harvard Graduate School of Design, and evidence of his Japanese-influenced aesthetic can be seen throughout his home.
The only decorative object on his deck.
Above: The only decorative object on his deck.

For more Japanese-inspired style, see:

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